A bill that would shut down Oregon's market for elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns has died in a committee of the Oregon House of Representatives. A work session scheduled for June 4 on SB 913 was canceled shortly before a legislative deadline for action on bills, despite apparently having enough votes to pass out of the committee and the House. Championed by Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, SB 913 would have strengthened regulation and complemented federal law to stop underground trade and protect elephants and rhinos from extinction.
Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior director of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement:
"Sadly, Oregon has missed an opportunity to do its part to help save elephants and rhinos from the threat of extinction. Despite compelling evidence that these animals are headed for extinction, and that their slaughter is helping fund international criminal and terrorist organizations, some in the Legislature are apparently choosing to protect the profits of a small but vocal minority that profits from the continued trade in ivory and rhino horn. We are especially appalled at the tactics of the National Rifle Association, which has misled lawmakers into believing this bill was about guns and knives, even after restrictions on the sale of firearms and knives that contain ivory were removed from the bill. We hope lawmakers and all Oregonians will see through the NRA's claims that it cares for wildlife conservation when it has worked so hard to kill legislation aimed at saving wildlife from extinction."
A recent poll showed eighty-four percent of gun owners said they would support the bill, and 92 percent of gun owners feel they would be unaffected by its passage.
SB 913 was supported by a diverse coalition of groups including the The HSUS, Humane Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Kenya Legal Project, Oregon Zoo, Oregon Humane Society, Wild Aid, Born Free USA, ASPCA, Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the National Resources Defense Council, Thomson Safaris, Wildlife Conservation Society and Defenders of Wildlife.